Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Cybocephalidae.

Geographical distribution: In warm regions, wherever their main prey, armored scale insects occur.

Morphology: The adults are small (1-2 mm in length), body shiny brown to black, convex and rounded, with a large head reflexed downwards and concealed by the pronotum. Larva 1-2 mm in length, creamy white, covered with long hairs which are more abundant on the posterior segments.

Life history: The larvae and adults are predators of armored scale insects, rarely of whiteflies, requiring relatively small amounts of prey in order to complete development. Their eggs (>300/female) are placed (often individually) under the shields of their prey-scales. They can discriminate between parasitized (by an aphelinid endoparasitoid) and unparasitized scales in choosing Diaspididae for oviposition, and avoid placing their eggs in previously parasitized scales. The predators feed mostly on the prey eggs and crawlers, being usually unable to attack the female scales. Cybocephalus spp. are unable to develop or reproduce when given only pollen or other animal diets. Temperatures of around 28°C are optimal for completing development (in several weeks), progeny production and adult longevity (several months). In the Middle East adults occur the year round; Cybocephalus nigriceps (Sahlberg), which has a winter diapause, is prevalent in the hot and dry southern regions, whereas C. micans Reitter is widespread in cooler and more humid areas.

Economic importance: In the Middle East Cybocephalus spp. are important predators of several pestiferous Diaspididae, such as Aonidiella aurantii, Aulacaspis tubercularis (especially in Egypt), Parlatoria blanchardi, Parlatoria pergandii and Pseudaulacaspis pentagona (especially in Turkey). However, not all Diaspididae are suitable prey for Cybocephalus (e.i. Aspidiotus nerii). Several species of Cybocephalus were introduced into other regions to promote diaspidid control.


Alvarez, J.M., van Driesche, R. and Cornell J., 1999. Effect of Encarsia sp. nr. diaspidicola (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) parasitism on Cybocephalus sp. nr. nipponicus (Coleoptera: Cybocephalidae) egg laying choices. Biological Control 15: 57-63.

Alvarez, J.M. and van Driesche, R. 1998. Effect of prey sex, density and age on oviposition of Cybocephalus sp. nr. Nipponicus (Coleoptera: Cybocephalidae), a natural enemy of Euonymus scale (Homoptera: Diaspididae). Florida Entomologist 81: 429-436.

Blumberg, D. 1971. Survival capacity of two species of Cybocephalus (Coleoptera: Cybocephalidae) under temperature and humidity extremes. Entomologia Experimentalis & Applicata 14: 434–440.

Blumberg, D. 1973. Field studies of Cybocephalus nigriceps nigriceps (J. Sahlberg) (Coleoptera: Cybocephalidae) in Israel. Journal of Natural History 7: 567-571.

Blumberg, D. 1976. Adult diapause of Cybocephalus nigriceps nigriceps (Col., Cybocephalidae). Entomophaga 21: 131-139.

Blumberg, D. and Swirski, E. 1974. The development and reproduction of cybocephalid beetles on various foods. Entomophaga 19: 437-443.

Blumberg, D. and Swirski, E. 1982. Comparative biological studies on two species of predatory beetles of the genus Cybocephalus (Col.: Cybocephalidae). Entomophaga 27: 67-76

Erkilig, L. and N. Uygun, N. 1995. Distribution, population fluctuations and natural enemies of the white peach scale, Pseudaulacaspis pentagona (Targioni Tozzetti) (Homoptera: Diaspididae) in the east Mediterranean region of Turkey. Israel Journal of Entomology 29: 191-198.

Kirejtshuk, A.G., James D.G. and Heffer, R., 1997. Description and biology of a new species of Cybocephalus Erichson (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a predator of Australian citrus whitefly. Australian Journal of Entomology 36: 81-86.

Sayed, A.M.M. 2012. Influence of certain bio-agents and climatic changes on the population density of the white mango scale, Aulacaspis tubercularis Newstead. Egyptian Journal of Agricultural Research 90: 607-624.